Episcopal Bishops in Massachusetts Apologize for Anti-Israel Charges

Gayle Harris, Suffragan Bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, has apologized for presenting unsubstantiated atrocity stories against Israel during her church’s General Convention in July. “The fault is solely mine,” she said in a statement issued today, August 17. “I was ill-advised to repeat the stories without verification, and I apologize for doing so,” she said.

Alan M. Gates, the Diocesan Bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, has affirmed her apology, declaring, “we recognize that for Christian leaders to relate unsubstantiated accounts of Israeli violence awakens traumatic memory of a deep history of inciting hostility and violence against Jews—a history the echoes of which are heard alarmingly in our own day.”

Bishop Harris’s apology and Bishop Gates’s affirmation were issued, in part, in response to CAMERA’s efforts to document the false and defamatory charges she leveled at a meeting of the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops during the General Convention in July

CAMERA welcomes the positive statements of the bishops. Hopefully, Harris’s apology will serve as a springboard for better relations between the Episcopal Church and the Jewish community grounded in appreciation of the vital need to investigate the truth of any allegations made about the Jewish state.

CAMERA hopes recent events will also prompt Episcopalians to examine what it is about their church’s culture that allowed Bishop Harris’s logically improbable and false statements about Israel to go unchallenged by her fellow bishops.

Perhaps her apology will also prompt other Christian groups engaged in peacemaking efforts to consider how their polemics make things worse and not better for the people affected by the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The full text of Bishop Harris’s apology and Bishop Gates’s affirmation can be found here.